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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The mythical Lava Dome

Recently I have gotten on the quality kick. Far too much of commercial gear lasts only in proportion to the estimated profit margin of the product. In other words, the Built-In obsolescence of fashionable shoddiness works to a company's advantage.

More than their debatable labor practices, I dislike Nike for playing the BIO game. About 25 or so years ago, Nike came out with a legendary pair of rock scrambling (aka approach) shoes. Called the Lava Dome, you can find people that still refer to the shoes with nostalgia.
oh yeah, and every old skool guy I ever head out into the mountains with comments that they look just like some mythical Nike approach shoe from back in the day that were so indestructible that Nike stopped makin' 'em cause the market was too small for a shoe that people only needed one pair ever of.
I remember these shoes well; I happened to like the shoes so much that I quickly bought a second pair (they didn't cost that much). I seem to recall imagining that Nike would not always sell Lava Domes, and sure enough they disappeared from the market in a few years. I know that many people bought Lava Domes even though they had no intention of doing any serious climbing, as they performed perfectly well for normal walking and biking.

Well, I still own the two pair. Light in weight but composed of indestructible hard rubber soles, leather, and tightly stitched uppers, the shoes do not wear out.

I dare any company to go bankrupt by plagiarizing the design. I doubt we will get any takers; Nike learned their lesson and has since made a fortune.


Professor Blogger Big Gav said...

"Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence - those are the three pillars of Western prosperity"

- Aldous Huxley (Island)

Don't you go undermining western prosperity with your seditious mutterings about obsolescence now :-)

Mind you - he only got it part right - I think control of oil (and possibly drug trafficking) should figure in that list as well.

5:37 AM  
Professor Blogger @whut said...

You and your science fiction. We all know that those guys are right only about 95% of the time.

6:35 AM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

oddly enough this was one of my all time favorite shoes, I owned it with the orange swoosh. If anyone knows where I could locate another pair I'd be all over it and I don't mean the new version.

12:05 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love these shoes nad I own about 6+ pairs in different colors. Nike has been releasing them in different colors in small runs. keep an eye out. they lat forever and are a classic.

7:43 AM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys should checkout the shoes that came out from Nike with Ipod applications. Nike and Apple coming together is a perfect combination and if this can motivate a healthier lifestyle than more power to them.

6:29 PM  
Professor Blogger Barry Smith said...

I'm down here in New Zealand where we can make some very rough and wet demands on our footwear. I've had my Lava Domes for about 25 years and they have been to some fantastic places and onto a couple of boot makers' lasts. They have been the best hiking shoe of their type I've ever owned. Why do they have to discontinue these shoes and then bring back something no real man would ever want to be seen in. If it aint broke, don't fix it!

12:42 PM  

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